The start of both the Harty and its football equivalent the Corn Uí Mhuirí was put back compared to previous years, with just one round of each played before last week’s mid-term break. With five teams in two Harty groups, it meant Midleton and east Cork neighbours, Youghal’s Pobalscoil na Tríonóide, had to sit out the opening round. Midleton manager Ronan Dwane doesn’t necessarily think that that was a bad thing, though.
“There are a couple of points of view,” he says. “On the one hand, it gave clubs time to finish up their competitions so the players didn’t have too many demands. The other side is we don’t have any competitive games under our belt as we got a bye in the O’Callaghan Cup (the senior competition for Cork schools) too, we’re playing St Colman’s in the quarter-final of that.
“We have done a lot of training and played challenge matches so there is work after being done, though obviously nothing from a competitive point of view.” Midleton won the last two Dean Ryan Cups (Munster U16½ ‘A’ HC) and the heroes of those wins form the backbone of the senior side. The final win in the 2013-14 academic year came against Ardscoil but Dwane knows that can’t be taken as a guarantee of victory today.
“It’s a massive hard opener,” he says, “they have nine county minors – five Limerick, three Clare and one Tipperary – and we have only two.
“It’s encouraging we have those two Dean Ryans and two years ago, when I was involved with them, they were narrow wins, we beat Blackwater in the semi and Ardscoil in the final by a point. Winning tight games like that is a good experience but the other side is that they could have gone either way.
“We were disappointed with how we did in the Harty last year, we didn’t even get out of the group. Ardscoil are a formidable team, they had a huge win against Bandon the last day, and we’ll have to bring our A-game.”
Also in Group A, Waterford’s De La Salle meet Hamilton High in Clashmore, also at 1.30pm. In Carrigtwohill, there is an all-Cork Group B clash between St Francis College and Pobalscoil na Tríonóide, 2.30pm start.